The Korean Film Industry - 60
Movies in South Korea
These are exciting times in the Korean movie industry and recent proof of this is the success of the Korean movie ‘Old Boy’, which won second prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. The success in recent years of homegrown Korean movies, such as Old Boy, Taegukgi, Silmido, Oasis, Salinui Chueok and Friend, has led to Hollywood looking to the Korean movie industry for inspiration, a reversal of roles from the past.
Great Korean Movies
The Korean movie industry (annual receipts $580 million – in 2004) still has a little way to go to catch up with the India ($820 million) and Japan ($1.93 billion), but huge interest worldwide has been created from these new movies. The names ‘Jang Dong-gun’, ‘Won Bin’ (Taegukgi) and ‘Sol Gyeong-gu’ (Silmido) are becoming known throughout Asia. The Korean government is also aware of the potential and for this reason, they have started to help promote the ‘Pusan Film Festival’, as the Asian version of the French ‘Cannes Film Festival’.
The interest in movies in Korea is immense. As part of the interviewing process for new students in my school, one of the questions I was required to ask was what the students interests were. I had to ask this question hundreds of times over two years and five particular answers came up time and time again. Those five answers were:
1) Going to movies.
3) Hanging out with friends.
4) Sleeping and finally.
5) Drinking, inline-skating, skiing or watching but not playing sports
Watching movies was always the most popular hobby mentioned and as a teacher who is also interested in movies, it was always something that was easy to talk about in lessons. If the conversation ever dried up with students, movies’ was always a subject, which could re-ignite the conversation. The deep interest of Koreans in movies is not limited to cinemas (movie theatres - American).